Elias Taylor '20

Elias TaylorMajor: Electrical Engineering

What was it like being among the first in your family to go to college?

Honestly, It was more the new environment not having been there or having a good idea what it was going to be like. I struggled to adjust to being around those not like me. On top of that, I went to a small high school with mostly minorities, being around those with similar educational backgrounds made it much easier to rise to the top. Getting to college everybody expected me to succeed, but I had a hard time staying afloat. I went from thriving and doing the most to barley getting by doing the bare minimum to pass my classes. Even though I was doing great relative to my family, the expectations from myself and from my community made me feel like more of failure more than I am. For me, it was taking a step back and realizing what you can and can't do. By trying to do the most I was actually hurting myself, being ok with just passing my classes made me actually like my classes, which made me learn more and helped me slowly grow to feel comfortable in the new environment.

What does it mean for your personally to be a part of the FGEN community and, specifically, to be a FGEN student ambassador?

For me, it's supporting those who don't necessarily feel comfortable at UP. I didn't, in fact I still don't entirely. But if I can help someone like me, someone who didn't even really feel comfortable to even ask for help, I feel like we can make UP a more inclusive environment for FGEN students.

What is your advice to FGEN students at UP who are facing challenges?

Ask for help and use the resources that are around you. Everybody struggles, and that's ok. It's how you handle those challenges that ultimately decide the outcome.

Did a mentor play a role in your experience?

Yeah, I don't think I would be here if it wasn't for my cousin. She was extremely supportive and encouraging, she got me through chemistry, and showed me how to move through this new environment.

What resources have been significant, meaningful or helpful for you so far during your UP experience?

The learning commons and making friends. Honestly, I didn't have a big community of engineers to ask for help. Now that I do, so I first ask my friends for help, next, I ask my professor, third I use the learning commons for tutoring.